Two former correctional officers pleaded guilty today to engaging in bribery and smuggling contraband into Leavenworth Detention Center.
According to court documents, Jacqueline Sifuentes, 26, of Laredo, Texas, and Cheyonte Harris, 29, of Raytown, Missouri, previously worked as correctional officers at Leavenworth Detention Center, a privately-run maximum-security federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Sifuentes used her position to smuggle contraband — including methamphetamine, marijuana and tobacco — into the prison in exchange for bribes from a federal inmate. Harris used her position to smuggle contraband into the prison in exchange for bribes from inmates and their associates.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to accept bribes and provide contraband to inmates of a federal prison. Each is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, and each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge William J. Hannah of the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) Chicago Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Charles A. Dayoub of the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI and DOJ-OIG are investigating the cases.
Trial Attorneys Rebecca M. Schuman and Dahoud A. Askar of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the cases.
The cases are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to combat prison corruption. In addition to the above matters, the Public Integrity Section recently obtained convictions against two other former Leavenworth Detention Center officials for similar conduct. See United States v. Willie Golden, Case No. 2:21-cr-20061 (D. Kan.); United States v. Janna Grier, Case No. 2:22-cr-20001 (D. Kan.). Separately, the Public Integrity Section has obtained convictions against three former North Carolina prison officials who smuggled contraband, including narcotics, into a state facility in exchange for bribes. See United States v. Ollie Rose, III, No. 4:20-CR-96 (E.D.N.C.); United States v. Kenneth Farr, No. 4:21-CR-9 (E.D.N.C.); and United States v. Jeremy Chambers, No. 4:21-CR-38 (E.D.N.C.).